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Dateline

Published Date: Feb 7, 2012

INVESTMENT IN EDUCATION KEY TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

It is high time people demanded political parties to include education into their manifestos to achieve a ‘knowledge based society’ as general elections draw close.
Without provoking political parties regarding the importance of the education for human development, constitutional obligation about right to education could not be ensured, said Dr Shaukat Farooq, President Knowledge-Based Welfare Society (KBS).
He was speaking at a seminar on ‘Education and Human Development’, organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) Monday.
Less spending for education sector would be increase when legislators realise the importance of the knowledge for development of a society, he said.
Identifying relations between the education and human development, Dr Farooq said sustainable human and economic development could only be achieved by investing in the education sector.
He said poverty and ignorance are our biggest evils that led to the lack of national identity that can only be achieved by making quality, uniform, compulsory, and free for all education.
He said Pakistan must immediately increase its education budget from 1.5 to minimum 5 per cent of the GDP. He said progress and development in the West occurred due to social and industrial development while knowledge played a central role in this process.
Developed countries, he added, made compulsory education for all about hundred years ago which led today’s modern human and economical development in these countries.
Discussing reforms and improvement in the education sector, Farooq suggested teachers training and establishing network of vocational centers, He made passionate appeal for a national awareness drive towards educating future generations to put Pakistan on path to progress.
He also urged upon people to ask their political candidates about their priorities before casting votes in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
Arif Naveed said that education can foster human development by promoting democracy. However, for promoting democratic values, education needs to enhance the critical abilities of the students and build their reflective capacities which in turn are dependent upon the contents of education and the way these are delivered to the students in the form of textbooks.
He further said inculcating the idea of social justice through education is also critical in promoting democracy but a deeper look into the curricula and textbooks in public schooling system finds an overwhelming emphasis upon religio-nationalism, which constructs the notion of citizenship threatened around the national and religious identities.
He also cited a recent study conducted by the SDPI that highlighted that education was promoting religious discrimination, through negative portrayal of the religious diversity in the textbooks and pejorative attitudes of teachers.
Such an education system, he said, seriously threatens the pluralist values hence compromising the prospects for democracy. He suggested Pakistan needs a complete overhaul of the education system by rewriting better textbooks and promoting pedagogical techniques that enhance the analytical, critical, and reflective capacities of the students.